Your Holiday Reading List: Our Top 10 Blog Posts of 2020

What’s on your mind? One way for us to find out is by seeing which of our blog posts are most popular with website visitors. This year, our list of top 10 blog posts of 2020 is unlike the list of any year before. Why is that not surprising?

We can always count on lots of traffic from Google as well as industry websites like Associations Now, but, during the pandemic, our posts were also featured on the websites of many school systems across the country. When you see which posts took the top spots, you’ll understand why.

Our Top 10 Blog Posts of 2020

Before the year ends, dedicate a little time to professional development. An easy place to start is with our ten most popular blog posts of 2020.

#1 and #2: 8 New Ideas for Engaging Online Students and 9 Ways to Increase Online Student Engagement

The E word (engagement) is not only popular in the association community, it’s also essential for teachers attempting online instruction for the first time. Our #1 post received nearly six times the number of page views as the third place finisher, and #2 had nearly four times the views.

Although written with online courses in mind, many of the strategies described in these posts also apply to virtual conferences. Zoom fatigue isn’t going anywhere so consider how you can add these elements to your next virtual conference, webinar or online course experience.

#3: How to Get Useful Student Feedback on Online Courses

Learner feedback gives you the information you need to improve course design and delivery. Plus, collecting feedback shows learners how laser-focused you are on their needs. One highlight of this post is the brief summary of Dr. Will Thalheimer’s thoughts on program evaluations. He is the evaluation expert so don’t miss that.

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2020

#4 (and #10): 12 Ways to Increase Student Participation in Online Discussions and Improve Student Success with an Online Learning Community

When you think back to your most memorable and effective learning experiences, did they involve other people? I bet they did. One of the things we miss most about in-person conferences are the conversations we had with fellow attendees at session tables and in the hallways.

We’ve long been advocates of providing an online learning community for online course participants so learners can benefit not only from the “sage on the stage” but also “the guide on the side.”

#5: Advice for Engaging Virtual Conference Attendees

Our top four posts were published in years past, but have remained popular because of their essential, evergreen content. #5 was published during the early months of the pandemic. This post shares advice on virtual conference content design, instructor skills, social connections and extracurricular activities that engage attendees.

Related reading: 10 Attendee Complaints About Virtual Conferences—and How to Prevent Them

#6: How to Design a Digital Badge Strategy

This post held the #1 spot for the last few years but was knocked off by more pressing concerns—how to engage online learners and virtual attendees. #6 is a comprehensive look at designing a digital badge strategy, a must-read if you’re going down that path.

All our digital badge posts get lots of traffic because associations—as well as other learning businesses—are creating programs to meet the increasing employee and employer demand for digital badges and micro-credentials.

Related reading: Associations Have the Advantage in the Digital Badges Market

Top 10 Blog Posts of 2020

#7: Remember the 3 E’s When Marketing Educational Programs

What 3 E’s, you ask? One, expeditionary marketing: envisioning and creating new markets for your educational programs before your competitors do. Two, emotional marketing: using messaging that connects with people on a deeply emotional level. Three, evangelism marketing: turbo-charging your word-of-mouth marketing.

Related reading: Market Virtual Education Programs Carefully and Caringly Right Now

#8: How to Prepare Attendees for a Virtual Conference—and Other Online Learning Options

Believe it or not, in some industries and professions, virtual fatigue is not yet a thing. In this post, we explain how to prepare virtual conference newbies for your event—but we also include tips for priming the “seen-it-all” virtual conference veterans for your event.

Related reading: Don’t Let Zoom Fatigue Affect Attendance for Your Virtual Events

#9: Debunking Learning Myths: 12 Facts About Adult Learning

During the pandemic, as associations quickly converted in-person conferences into virtual conferences, they had to figure out how to provide an engaging online learning experience. The jury’s still out on whether they actually pulled this off, but at least many associations are rethinking their approach to conference education—and networking. The popularity of this post might be explained by the desire to toss off conventional wisdom and learn more about truly effective adult learning.

Related reading: Myths About Online Learning: It’s Not the Emergency Remote Instruction Your Kids Received This Spring

One silver lining of the pandemic is the realization that maybe traditional in-person conference education wasn’t as engaging as everyone assumed. Associations are also looking back at their spring, summer and fall virtual conferences and thinking, “Next time, we can do better.”

No matter what 2021 brings, it will be a time of learning. Members and industry professionals will be compelled to improve their skills and increase their knowledge given all the change in the world around us. Association professionals will continue to learn about more effective ways to deliver education and networking experiences to members and attendees. We’ll keep watching, listening, researching and learning too so we can continue to provide insight and ideas to the association community.

learner engagement
virtual conference
Digital Badges
online courses
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